|Ano || |
«I love it. For two years, we have excellent cars in these hybrids, the Toyotas, Audi and Porsches. I think that for the drivers it must be very difficult physically. It's interesting because they use different technology. They burn much less than before and that helps the car overall. It has to continue.»
«That edition is a great regret of mine. It was a rainy year, yet the safety car was never deployed despite 19 hours of rain. That year, I was with Courage Compétition in a C34 with an official Porsche engine that Bob Wollek had managed to get. Mario Andretti brought sponsors and I already had one 24 Hours of Le Mans victory under my belt. We should have won. Mario made a small error early in the race at the Karting corners. In the U.S., they don't race much in the rain. He was surprised, the car made contact with the safety rail and we lost 45 minutes fixing the damage. Afterwards it was a real Grand Prix. I drove a lot because Bob Wollek wasn't going very fast, it's true. I took enormous risks, Mario drove very well after his incident and we finished second, three minutes from the winners. I was so disappointed!
We changed the rear hood and it cost us the win. Few people talked about it, but we should have won that edition, despite the incident. It was quite the disillusionment for Mario because he has won everything in his career. He was F1 world champion, he won the Indianapolis 500 and he finished second at Le Mans! He became a great friend, I am still in contact with him and I hate that he didn't win because it would have truly topped off his extraordinary career. He's a wonderful guy. At the time, being younger than he was, he was like a dad to me. Later he invited me to the U.S. to attend races with him. I followed Michael (Andretti, Mario's son, Cart champion in 1991, Ed.) back then and I was all decked out in Andretti. A great memory!»
«It was a fantastic car. Also, I had been a test driver with McLaren. It was a good program, but the British marque was so disappointed to have lost that they blamed us, the drivers. So it's not something I look back on fondly. Fortunately, the engineers were there to defend us in saying it wasn't our fault, the car simply wasn't fast enough.»
«I went to Toyota and joined my friend André de Cortanze with whom I had already worked at Peugeot and with whom I would collaborate at Pescarolo Sport. Once again, Toyota had no luck! My teammates and I were in a good position, in the lead up until Martin Brundle had an incident and 'cut' the car in two in front of the pits. So all hope went to the #29 driver line-up (Thierry Boutsen, Ralf Kelleners and Geoff Lees, Ed.), but though their were in the lead a few hours from the finish, the car was forced to retire (broken gearbox, Ed.). It was tragic, like 2016! There are two marques who have really been unlucky at Le Mans: Mercedes (en 1999, Ed.) and Toyota. Last year, I was truly disappointed for them, for Oreca, the mechanics and Hugues (De Chaunac, Ed.) especially. Things like that just can't happen in the last lap.»
«I went to Pescarolo Sport because André (de Cortanze, Ed.) was there and also because Peugeot was a part of it for a time. The first two years were nothing extraordinary as the engine was clearly not on point. Thereafter, we switched to Judd and should have won in 2005! We were three seconds from the fastest lap over the Audis but Soheil (Ayari, Ed.) decided otherwise (laughs, Ed.). In 2006, he was replaced by Franck Montagny, but we were lacking in performance level. We finished second. It's a shame because there are two people with whom I would have loved to win Le Mans: Mario Andretti and Sébastien Loeb.»